If you really think that the US bishops are somehow behind my little article, all I can do is laugh. For over 25 years, Catholics have nothing but ignore me when I talk about this phenomenon and not a single bishop from anywhere has shown any interest. I couldn’t even get other Catholic bloggers to care. I expected no less from this piece but when an NCR editor wrote and asked me to do a week ago, I thought “why not? I have all those old posts languished unread - I can cobble this together in no time.” I didn’t really expect anyone to read it. And that’s about as intentional as it got.
One of the problems with Christianity, and with all other world religions, is that they are fragmented. For example, Christianity includes tens of thousands of individual denominations and faith groups. 2 Estimates range from 20,000 to over 30,000. A main reason for this is that the prime source of Christian beliefs, passages in the Bible, seem to be ambiguous. Sincere, thoughtful, intelligent believers have interpreted its passages very differently. A good example of this ambiguity are the meanings assigned to the six "clobber passages" in the Bible . These are passages in the Hebrew Scriptures (. Old Testament) and the Christian Scriptures (. New Testament) that are often interpreted as discussing same-gender sexual behavior. Some Christians view these passages as condemning all such behavior, while other interpret the same passages as accepting it on a par with opposite-sex sexual behavior.
The modern Christmas tree tradition dates back to Western Germany in the 16th century. They were called " Paradeisbaum " ( paradise trees ) and were brought into homes to celebrate the annual Feast of Adam and Eve on DEC-24. 4 They were first brought to America by German immigrants about the year 1700. Christmas trees became popular among the general . population about 1850 and have remained so ever since. 2 President Franklin Pierce (1804-1869) arranged to have the first Christmas tree in the White House, during the mid-1850's. President Calvin Coolidge (1885-1933) started the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the White House lawn in 1923. 4 Today, the Christmas Tree has become accepted by most Christians, by people of other faiths, and for those who do not follow an organized religion. It has become a popular late-December tradition and part of our present-day culture. Christmas Trees grace households and office buildings alike. The trees take on a variety of shapes, sizes, and costs. Both the Christian and secular worlds have embraced traditional green firs, beautiful white flocked trees, and even pre-lit artificial Christmas trees for those who have allergic reactions to live trees. As Gail Quick, University of South Carolina - Beaufort 's Dean of University Relations, commented on the occasion of a community tree-lighting ceremony.: "This Christmas event every year is the glue that holds this community together - this and the July 4th fireworks. This always makes me feel good. Some of us still believe in Santa Claus ." 6